Adobe’s 2020 UX Designers to Watch were chosen based on: Their portfolios, experience, how well they promoted culture, how well they promoted sustainability through UX and design, and how well they challenged the limitations of the design profession, despite it being early in their careers.
The design experiences of the chosen 10 were what Adobe considered inspirational, such as:
Sandra Atakora, New York: She started her career in industrial design, but Atakora moved to interaction design and is the director of user-experience at Perch. Perch’s work earned her recognition at the Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards, Forbes Magazine 15 Tech Companies to Watch, and Edison Awards with a Gold Medal for Retail Innovation. Atakora led the interactive design for Macy’s Fragrance Destination, a project rethinking in-store scent discovery across Macy’s fragrance category. Atakora runs a consulting business developing AR experiences and worked with emerging mediums through her role as a research fellow at Pratt Institute, where she conducted research at the intersection of design and technology. Adobe’s blog said, “Her work, motivated by her practice as an aerialist, aims to capture the audience by deliberate movement through physical and digital space.”
Cody Cai, San Francisco: Growing up in California as the child of immigrants, Cai’s love for UX was inspired by his parents’ creativity in developing dishes for their restaurant that “profoundly profoundly influenced his own skills around experimentation, craftsmanship, storytelling, and empathy,” the Adobe blog explained. A graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in graphic design, he began his career at IBM. He is now a UX Designer at Twitch, where he crafts interactive experiences. He believes “that sound, music, and language are powerful, universal tools of communication that shape realities, guide emotions, and warp perceptions.” He co-curated an exhibition of jazz posters by Miklaus Troxler and created his own pictorial language called Sonoglyphs.
Becky Colley, London: After beginning a career in business, Colley pivoted to digital experience and in 2017, began as a UX designer with Cancer Research UK. She continued work with nonprofits and designing for social impact, and completed projects with Stand Up To Cancer and Race for Life. Colley is now UX Lead at the Barbican Centre, the largest performing arts center in Europe, where she’s working on projects like Cinema on Demand and Live from the Barbican. Colley is “particularly passionate about accessibility, inclusion, and tech for good,” the Adobe blog said. She led Citizens Advice’s first hack day to help 25 energy suppliers debut. She also set up workshops designed to highlight human-centered design.
Marisa Blair, Toronto: With a career in web and graphic design, digital media, and content creation, Blair channeled UX design into her website XO Pixel, which helped more than one-million readers continue to learn to design and code through articles and tutorials. Blair has built a platform of resources, including a YouTube channel where she shares educational videos on UI/UX design, graphic design, illustration, and web development. Blair teaches creative digital skills online and would like to see more women and women of color in the design and tech industry and hopes to continue being visible online while teaching and mentoring future creatives.
Artiom Dashinsky, Berlin, Germany: Dashinksky designs his products and consults with selected companies on UX and product design. Dashinksky led design for WeWork products and helped startups design products and establish design culture. He helps UX designers prepare for job interviews and practice product skills with his e-book, Solving Product Design Exercises: Questions & Answers. In 2014, he minimized his belongings to 27 kilograms and moved to a randomly-selected country, starting a minimalist and sustainable lifestyle. He continued to learn about sustainability and spoke at the SustainableUX conference. Dashinksky just published a second book to help designers and makers come up with business ideas. He advises companies on more sustainable and meaningful swag at OpenStanding.
Ariana M. Davis, San Francisco: As the Golden State Warriors lead product design UI engineer, Davis builds digital experiences online for increased fan engagement as she combines her love of sports, design, and technology. Davis and her partners launched and designed Sole360, a sneaker trading-platform. Davis is an advocate for diversity in the tech industry, striving to give more women of color a seat at the table. She is a part of Dev Color, a fellowship that empowers black software engineers to help one another grow into industry leaders. She’s also a mentor to inspire more diversity and inclusion in STEM careers.
Elba Ornelas, Guadalajara, Mexico: Ornelas is a Senior UX Designer at Wizeline and leads efforts to remove food waste at the company. Her web-based platform Foodie reduced food waste in two offices by nearly 50% after eight months. Ornelas received a certificate in designing for a circular economy from Cradle to Cradle Product Design, for products made through reusing resources and eliminating waste. Ornelas is also a public speaker and presented UX topics at design conferences, including the Conferencia Líderes in 2019. She is a mentor for #IamRemarkable, a Google initiative empowering underrepresented groups to celebrate career achievements. Ornelas facilitated discussions with professionals to challenge perceptions around self-promotion, and help them develop skills to self-advocate. She’d like to advocate for inclusive decisions that benefit all equally.
Mary Tsai, San Francisco: Tsai began her career in architecture designing zoo exhibits and aquariums, gaining an interest in sustainability and material design. In 2017, she studied interaction designs. After receiving her master’s degree in Interaction Design at Carnegie Mellon University, Tsai is now a user-experience designer at LinkedIn, on the marketing solutions team. She created a new way of 3D printing in grad school, and worked with classmates to create an in-home Internet of Things (IoT) device encouraging users to understand the local environmental impact and foster lasting behavioral changes to improve sustainable practices. Tsai also designs furniture for her woodworking business.
Johny Vino, Cupertino: Vino received an MFA in interaction design from the School of Visual Arts, and is a product designer at Apple. Previously he interned at Microsoft as an interaction designer working on Outlook. His product Cleanmock, helps designers present their designs. Vino designed an app a day for two years and resulting projects spanned topics including global warming, workspace culture, and connecting communities. Vino is an international speaker at UX design conferences on micro-interactions. He also helps educate peers through articles on Medium and UX Collective.
Jason Yuan, San Francisco: Yuan designs interfaces and studied theatre at Northwestern University, as well as graphic design at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). He worked at Apple on apple.com and the Apple Store app. Yuan co-founded MakeSpace, a social platform that reimagines familiar pillars of the computing experience (such as web browsing and teleconferencing) within a real-time, collaborative canvas. Last year, he released Mercury OS, a speculative project outlining an inclusive operating system for neurodiverse people—particularly those who struggle with executive function and cognitive load. Yuan does typographic animations for clients like Klim Type Foundry. He believes “we must take responsibility for being constructors of our social world.”